The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) recently received official approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service of its Connecticut 2020 Forest Action Plan, a ten-year strategic document designed to guide policies, priorities, and actions to conserve Connecticut’s forest resources across multiple landscapes from urban and suburban, to rural.
Approval of Connecticut’s action plan is the culmination of a two-year collaborative effort with many partners and stakeholders. The plan analyzes current conditions and trends of Connecticut’s trees and forests and provides strategies and action steps to best plan for the future of the forested landscape. It takes into consideration goals and strategies of Connecticut’s Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, Wildlife Action Plan, and Green Plan, and incorporates recommendations of the Governors Council on Climate Change.
Under the U.S. Farm Bill, a forest action plan is required of all states and territories to receive federal aid through USDA Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry programs, which support private woodland owner stewardship, urban and community forestry, and assistance to rural fire departments. Having a robust plan also allows Connecticut’s forest conservation partners to compete regionally for additional grants designed to address priorities and implement strategies identified within the plan.
Forest Action Plans assess the condition of trees and forests, regardless of ownership, and develop strategies to conserve working forest landscapes, protect forests from harm, and enhance public benefits from trees and forests. They offer practical and comprehensive roadmaps for investing federal, state, local, and private resources where they can be most effective in achieving state and national forest conservation goals.